First Nation Bans Pipelines for BC LNG

by Damien Gillis / Common Sense Canadian

While much has been made of partnerships between First Nations and companies proposing to build natural gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals on BC’s coast, the position being taken by one particular nation could have a chilling effect on the nascent industry.

Hereditary Chief Na’moks of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation’s Tsayu Clan explains here how his people are standing in the path of all proposed pipelines through their unceded traditional territory. That means not just the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline for diluted bitumen, but, importantly, several  gas pipelines proposed to supply BC LNG terminals – including Chevron and Apache’s Pacific Trails pipeline, which has already been approved by the National Energy Board.

Wet’suwet’en territory consists of 22,000 square kilometres in the region of Smithers in northwest BC and sits squarely in the path of multiple proposed oil and gas pipelines. The Wet’suwet’en threaten to derail the industry’s efforts to access future BC LNG terminals in Kitimat and Prince Rupert by partnering on pipelines with many First Nations who have staunchly opposed Enbridge’s oil pipeline plans.

According to Chief Na’moks, the heads of the five Wet’suwet’en clans decided in April to oppose all pipelines through their territory – something which has seen virtually no media coverage, despite its significance to the LNG conversation

According to unconventional energy expert David Hughes, the scale of BC’s LNG plans would require “a very aggressive increase in the number of fracked wells in northeast BC.” The impacts on water and air quality of this controversial technique for natural gas extraction are one of a number of concerns weighing on the Wet’suwet’en’s minds. Says Chief Na’moks:

When you’re talking about fracking and the dangers that come with it – the waste of water, the poisoning of water, the waste of land…when we allow pipelines, we have to take that responsibility that we’re supporting this industry to continue that. As Wet’suwet’en, we can’t do that.

Another clan of the Wet’suwt’en, the Unist’ot’en, has been occupying a key pipeline corridor across the Morice River in their territory for a year and a half now and already blocked some surveying work for the Pacific Trails line.

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